Just three weeks after the launch of a version of its Google+ social network for the Apple iPhone, Google has released an update to the application that extends support to include the successful iPad tablet computer and the iPod Touch.
For now, the iPad version of the app is simply a double-resolution version of the iPhone app rather than a native iPad app, but this is still a major step forward from the first release, where iPad and iPod Touch users were not even able to download and install from Apple’s App Store.
Released earlier this week, the new version of the app also offers new settings for Huddle, the Google+ group messaging feature, that enable users to restrict who can message them based on the Circles in which their contacts are placed. It also comes with several performance and stability improvements.
1 Million New Users Per Day
Google+ was launched in late June as an alternative to Facebook and other successful social networking sites. Although the service remains invitation-only for the time being, membership has already reached the 25 million mark, and according to digital research company comScore it is growing at a rate of roughly 1 million new members each day.
Nevertheless, it will be no easy task for Google to convert the 750 million existing Facebook users to Google+. In the short term, the search firm may have more success in convincing brands to adopt its new service – especially if it can solve many of the problems advertisers currently have with Facebook.
With Google set to launch brand pages on Google+ in the next month or two, and with Google+ drawing on the strengths of existing Google services, such as search and Google Analytics, it could soon become easier for brands to track where and how successfully their social media dollars are being spent.
Greater Control Over Information Sharing
One area in which Google+ has already garnered praise is for its Circles, a feature that makes it easier for users to gather their contacts together in groups (such as Friends, Colleagues, Family, and so on) and to control exactly what information they share with each group.
When you consider the criticism Facebook has come under on more than one occasion for its complicated privacy settings (and for the somewhat opaque manner in which these have a tendency to change), this is clearly a feature that users of social networks have been waiting for. While it is true that Facebook did recently introduce a Groups feature, Circles in Google+ are much easier to set up and far more intuitive to understand.
Key Statistics – Global Social Media Membership
- Google+, which attracted 25 million members in its first month alone, is predicted to become the second-most popular social media platform by 2012, behind Facebook but ahead of LinkedIn and Twitter.
- If it were a country, Facebook, which has 750 million users, would be the third-most populous country in the world.
- Twitter has 200 million users.
- LinkedIn has 119 million users, with 41.5% of them female and 58.5% male.